I suppose that sometimes I am a cocky bastard. After the Molalla River 200k a few weeks ago, I wrote that it was not as hard as I thought it would be and that I was psyched for the 300k coming up because–I think these were my words–maybe it would be more of the soul-crushing challenge I was hoping for.
I swear, how do you guys even put up with me? :)
But that being said, yesterday’s Breitenbush 300k was not, in fact, a soul-crushing challenge. It was actually quite lovely! The 6am fog shrouding our start burned off after a few hours, leaving nothing but glorious sunshine. It seemed like everyone was in pretty high spirits. I hope so, anyway, because otherwise my uber-exuberant comments about how amazing and beautiful everything was and how much I loved life probably got annoying pretty fast.
Until the hills around Detroit Lake, I spent a good portion of the morning with some variation of this group:
(pictured here are Kevin, Ian, Michael, Ed, and John; not pictured are David, Asta, and Theo)
We split up a bit once the road started climbing more, and I made the hike up to Breitenbush (and most of the rest of the ride) by myself. I was actually kind of excited about that. It was really nice to bike with lovely people for the first many hours, but I also sort of wanted to prove to myself that I could do this kind of thing even if I’m not being entertained by conversation with others. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but I wonder sometimes if I actually have the mental fortitude (or whatever you want to call it) to do hard things if they’re not made easier by someone else’s presence. So I was psyched for the chance to spin along with only my own thoughts to keep me company. Just to prove to myself that I can.
(though it’s easy to enjoy yourself when you’re biking by this kind of thing. Mt Jefferson and Detroit Lake)
This was an out-and-back ride. So when I got to the control in Lyons on the way back, at 132 miles, I’d gone as far as I’d ever previously biked in one day. And though I was kind of nervous about the next 60 miles, it turns out that they were totally chill. Aside from 30 or so miles of super intense stomach cramps (if anything, that was the almost soul-crushing part;), I felt pretty spunky. And when I managed to will the cramps into submission with about 25 miles left to go, I was definitely feeling spunky:)
(close to the end and the sun’s still shining!:)
This isn’t anything that I haven’t said before (probably millions of times:), but there is something so rad about getting on your bike in the morning and knowing that you’re going to be biking all day. With short distances, you worry about how long it’s taking you or what you’re going to do when you get there, or any million number of things–but with a ride like this, where you’ve already committed to it taking all day, you just sort of settle in and enjoy it. At least, I do–maybe I shouldn’t speak in universal yous:) But it’s so fricken awesome. And even though I’m still a total newbie to this (all these fools I was biking with who have done ridiculous distances like 600, 1200, whatever k at a time are so inspiring), I seriously can’t imagine anything better.
(though next time I’m going to remember to put on sunscreen)
Now that I know a 300k is totally possible–even thoroughly enjoyable:)–I guess there’s nothing left to do but sign up for a 400k. And then maybe a 600 and 1200;) Bring it.
(more ride pictures here)